19 February 2018

Zimbabwe: Be Innovative, Minister Tells Parastatal Bosses

Management at State-owned enterprises should be innovative and open to new ideas, as this is a key ingredient to socio-economic growth through modernisation and industrialisation, a Cabinet minister has said. Addressing a Corporate Governance Workshop held at Management Training Bureau in Harare last week, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said public entities needed leaders who were agile and aligned to the national vision.

"We need a national culture of performance for the growth of the economy through modernisation and industrialisation," he said. "Our main objective is to encourage innovative leadership, as well as team work, because nobody can do things alone.

"We want our organisations to be aligned. Our chief executives should not be chief idea killers. We want them to be innovators, which means the director of innovation post in a company must always be open."

Innovation, said Prof Murwira, had to be nurtured since it was critical for economic growth.

"As President Mnangagwa always says, if we have to say Zimbabwe is open to business, it means all our institutions have to make that possible," he said. "We have to make Zimbabwe agile, aligned to delivering a modernisation and industrialisation agenda. Corruption is the cancer to the economy -- it has to be attacked."

Finance and Economic Development Deputy Minister Terrence Mukupe said one of the thrusts of the new Government was to fight corruption.

"When you have got a corrupt environment, that is an imputed cost into the fiscus that ends up as a hard-hitting cost on the delivery of service to the ordinary person," he said. "If we do not sort out issues to do with corporate governance, your budget will end up getting lost in people's budget.

"One of the key elements of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Bill is that we are decentralising most of the operations, especially around things to do with procurement and when you decentralise, you do not want to decentralise corruption."

Deputy Minister Mukupe said the new set up would have a much more responsive and leaner structure, which leads to a better environment for investors and everyone operating in Zimbabwe.

He said the key component was on the Rapid Results Approach, which aimed at harvesting low-hanging fruits.

Senior principal director in the Office of the President and Cabinet Mr Solomon Mhlanga said the successful implementation of Rapid Results Approach required breaking the silo mentality and adopting an efficient approach to implementing projects.

"It used to take 90 days to fulfil nine procedures to start a new business," he said. "Now, it is down to 14 days. It used to be a legal requirement to advertise twice in the print media for a shop licence notice. This would cumulatively take 55 days.

"However, with the implementation of the Ease of Doing Business reforms, these requirements were dropped. On construction permits, the days have been reduced from 448 days to 120 days. Property registration now takes 11 days from the previous 36 days, and time taken to pay taxes was reduced from 242 hours to 160 hours."


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